Movement, Politiks, Struggles, Workers

Protests in Brixton: for the district and against the banks

On the day of the 24th of March an initiative took place in the district with two aims: to help businesses in the area and protest against the mismanagement of the banks.

Javier Duque

“The people of Brixton have a very strong identity and are very proud to live in this area, where there are a multitude of small businesses and a great diversity which we want to keep. It’s with initiatives like this that the local community improves”.

These are the words of Simon Woolf, who belongs to “Move your Money” – a campaign that states that it is possible to build a better banking system – and who took part in the initiative on the 24th that protested against the banks at the same time as helping the district.

Any one of the people who approached the branch of “Credit Union” on Acre Lane, where the activity took place, could change their pounds for B£, the local currency created in 2009 by a group of volunteers.

The local residents’ pride in the area, mentioned by Simon, is reflected on the B£ notes, each of which commemorates a famous figure that has had some relation to Brixton throughout their lives.

These people are: the activist Lenford Garrison, the basketball player Luol Deng, the musician David Bowie and the Second World War secret agent, Violette Szabo.

Simon Woolf estimated that on the day some 100 people, the approximate number of people expected, would go on to hold these local heroes in their hands,. An hour and a half after starting, the event had already attracted some 20 locals.

Nevertheless, Woolf commented that people were showing a great interest because “they are tired of the big banks, as they will never change: they are not here to help us, only to make profit”.

Woolf also wanted to make it clear that the bank collaborating with the initiative, “Credit Union”, is the most ethical, in that it is controlled by its members and provides loans to those in greatest need.

Shannon, a Brixton resident participating in the event, remarked amidst laughter that she was going to change the few pounds she had for B£, to spend in some of the more than 200 possible shops (from cafés and restaurants, to food and vegetable stores…)

For his part, Mario, another B£ volunteer who’s currently doing research into the currency, was handing out information about the event on the street and inviting people to come and take part.

Mario, more than seeing the event as a protest against the banks, spoke instead of “maintaining control of your own money and at the same time helping local businesses.”

This March, the first steps of the “Move your Money” movement have taken place in the United Kingdom, with events all over London.

Move your money” has already had great success in the United States, where more than 10 million people have moved their money to local financial institutions, with 40,000 of  the transactions happening on one day alone.

Returning to the B£, and looking to the future, Simon Woolf affirmed that the next step will be a better integration with the “Lambeth Council”, with some 3000 of their employers being offered the chance to receive part of their salary in the local currency this summer.

(Translated by Philip Brignall – Email:

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